When choosing a place to settle down and raise a family, many factors come into play: career opportunities, location of family and friends, school districts, outdoor settings, etc. Yet, according to a study by WalletHub, some states are simply better to raise a family than others.
In the study, WalletHub’s data team evaluated and compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 40 key indicators of “family-friendliness”– such as housing affordability, paid family leave, daycare quality, and (uh-oh!) divorce rate.
Read through for the rankings as well as some notable highlights from the study.
10 Best States to Raise a Family
1. North Dakota- Total Score: 65.81 (Ranked #2 in socioeconomics*)
2. New Hampshire- Total Score: 65.59
3. Vermont- Total Score: 65.24 (Ranked #1 in health and safety*)
4. Minnesota- Total Score: 65.22 (Ranked #2 in affordability*)
5. Nebraska- Total Score: 64.18
6. Massachusetts- Total Score: 63.98
7. New Jersey- Total Score: 63.84 (Ranked #1 in education and child care*)
8. Iowa- Total Score: 63.25 (Ranked #1 in affordability)
9. Connecticut- Total Score: 62.93
10. South Dakota- Total Score: 62.70 (Ranked #1 in family fun*)
10 Worst States to Raise a Family:
10. Alabama- Total Score: 44.32
9. West Virginia- Total Score: 44.27 (Ranked #51- in family fun)
8. Georgia- Total Score: 44.13
7. Arizona- Total Score: 43.56
6. Alaska- Total Score: 43.37 (Ranked #50 in health and safety)
5. Nevada- Total Score: 42.39
4. Louisiana- Total Score: 42.00
3. District of Columbia- Total Score: 41.13 (Ranked #51 in socioeconomics)
2. Mississippi- Total Score: 39.85 (Ranked #50 in affordability, family fun)
1. New Mexico- Total Score: 38.58 (Ranked #50 in education/child care, socioeconomics; ranked #51 in affordability)
- The most affordable housing can be found in Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Kansas, whereas homes in Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and DC are the least affordable.
- The lowest infant mortality rate can be found in California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, whereas Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma have the highest.
- The lowest childcare costs can be found in Mississippi and South Dakota, whereas District of Columbia and New York pay the most for child care.
- Utah, North Dakota, and New Jersey have the lowest divorce rate. District of Columbia, Nevada, and Florida have the highest divorce rate.
- Family Fun (includes number of attractions, fitness & recreational sports centers per capita, and average commute time)
- Health & Safety (includes quality of public hospitals, infant mortality rate, water and air quality)
- Education & Child Care (includes public high school graduation rate, child-care costs, and parental leave)
- Affordability (includes housing affordability, median credit score, median family annual income, and employer-based retirement plans)
- Socioeconomics (includes separation and divorce rate, share of families receiving food stamps, paid family leave, and job security)
Scroll over to see where your state ranked.